Print 39 comment(s) - last by Dark Legion.. on Jan 14 at 10:13 PM

Apple is finally allowing browsers, like those shown here, on the iPhone. Wondering why you've never heard of any of them? Apple is only allowing third party browsers based on its Safari webkit, which means no Firefox, Opera, or Chrome.
Apple opens gate to independent software companies to publish browsers with a significant catch

Since the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch debuted, it has been a runaway hit selling millions of apps and spawning an entirely new software industry.  However, Apple has developed a reputation over the course of last year as a bit of a dictator when it comes to the app store.  Apple was quick to shoot down any applications which it found offensive or which it felt might interfere with its own apps.  That meant competitive internet browsers or music players were less than welcome at the store.

When it comes to internet browsers, Apple has announced that it will finally be relenting, but only somewhat.  Apple is dropping its "duplication of functionality" clause, and as of yesterday has began to approve several "new" browsers that had been gathering dust the last couple months.

The catch -- and it’s a big one -- is that all the browsers it’s approving are based on Apple’s Safari.  For those expecting Firefox, Chrome, or Opera, you are in for a disappointment.

Meet Apple's new browsers:  there's the "Edge" browser, which is a plainer looking browser without Safari's chrome, there's the privacy inclined "Incognito", there's the vibration-countering "Shaking Web", and there's an enhanced tab browser "WebMate".  The apps are all built, though, on Safari's WebKit and are thus Apple-powered.

While it might seem like the new browsers are akin to Safari extensions, unlike extensions, they're considered fully fledged apps.  And that means you can only run one at a time.  Really, the new browsers aren't even that new in a sense as the NYT, AP, and USA Today apps all used the Safari WebKit to improve their functionality.

The only difference is that the change opens the door to new products which could, in a respect replace Apple's base product, the Safari browser.  While Apple will likely get a slice of the revenue if one of them takes off, it will be a smaller slice, and it will have less control. 

With many users reporting the stock Safari to be buggy and glitch-prone, the idea of independent developers being able to improve it, a la Firefox, is a welcome one to many.  Additionally, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before Firefox, Opera and others are fully allowed.  However, Apple is known to keep its users hoping in vain, so that's by no means a sure bet.

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Closed systems FTW!
By reader1 on 1/14/2009 9:49:00 AM , Rating: -1
This is one more step towards the end of the open PC and the Windows monopoly.

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By amanojaku on 1/14/2009 9:56:53 AM , Rating: 3
I hope you're joking. I'm no MS lover, but I'm beyond sick of Apple and its antics. I used to be a Mac fan, but Apple's slimy way of doing things is just... slimy. Make a web browser based on Safari? What's the point if I already have Safari?!? Closed systems are better than open systems? Sure, if you liked the days when you had to bring your Mac into the store get upgrades or risk voiding the warranty. How about those uber-cool closed-designs - with non-replaceable batteries? iTunes is a requirement to use your iPod? Yeah, Apple is the way to go.

Remember the Who's "Won't get fooled again" - "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss"

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By reader1 on 1/14/09, Rating: -1
RE: Closed systems FTW!
By amanojaku on 1/14/2009 10:32:20 AM , Rating: 3
*Sigh* iTunes is "dominant" because you are forced to use it if you own an iPod or iTunes. Everyone I know who uses iTunes is sick of it's bloat (slow performance compared to other players, even Windows Media Player) and damn-near weekly updates. I've dumped it in favor of VLC, which could use some polish, but is a much better product, in my opinion. iTunes is nothing more than the Internet Explorer of the iWorld. We didn't want IE to be a requirement, so why are we going to accept iTunes?

The iPod is dominant for two reasons: the original MP3 players sucked and the mass public didn't know about the decent obscure ones. Now that there are decent competitors it's a little too late: Apple was first at the party, and people don't like to change, even if change is better. Give it a few years and the story might be different; the Zune is steadily increasing its share, and who knows what dark horse will come out and create THE killer PMP?

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By Gzus666 on 1/14/2009 10:45:27 AM , Rating: 1

Well, if this comes to be I think I will cream my jeans.

Have to agree on VLC, great player with awesome codec support. Little buggy and could use a bit of polish, but solid for the most part. I have used WMP(I always revert to Mplayer2 cause I hate all the new flashy crap, I want to play movies, not wank it to the border of the player) forever and this is the first player I have found I prefer.

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By Dark Legion on 1/14/2009 10:54:17 AM , Rating: 3
If by "wank it" to the border of the player you mean where it tells you what you're playing on the sidebar, then in the new Win7 WMP you actually have the option to hide that.

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By Gzus666 on 1/14/2009 12:38:20 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, I mean the player is huge and has a lot of flashy crap I could really care less about in a player. Granted I haven't gone to the brand new versions, but why would I do that when Mplayer2 works fantastically without the mess? All I want in my player is the basic buttons, menu bar and the ability to play anything I want.

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By PhoenixKnight on 1/14/2009 2:03:29 PM , Rating: 2
I believe there's a plugin or something for WMP 9 or 10 that allows you to put a minimal version on your taskbar, with just the basic buttons. My brother uses it in windows XP, but I've never used it myself, so I'm not sure how to do it.

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By reader1 on 1/14/09, Rating: 0
RE: Closed systems FTW!
By kelmon on 1/14/2009 10:55:36 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I wouldn't agree that VLC is crap, although my need for its services has decreased greatly since Perian appeared. However, the important point is that it isn't a suitable replacement for iTunes unless you really are looking for a basic media player. iTunes may well be bloated but it does include a lot of functionality that I like and use. With any luck we'll see a Cocoa version of the application when Snow Leopard is released that will improve performance a bit (not that I'm complaining - performance is fine for me).

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By drzoo2 on 1/14/2009 11:10:22 AM , Rating: 2
Are you out of your mind. Could you make a more general comment about something you obviously know nothing about?

First you state
This is one more step towards the end of the open PC and the Windows monopoly.

Which hinted at your cluelessness. Apple is on par with the same vendor lock-in tactics as Microsoft. They only contribute so long as there is benefit for them.

Then you state that VLC is crap. This was your defining moment. Other than cosmetics, VLC is some of the most powerful software I've used. Let me guess, it choked on a few of your wma's? Seriously, were do you stand. How about of an example of the crap that is VLC?


RE: Closed systems FTW!
By PhoenixKnight on 1/14/2009 11:00:58 AM , Rating: 2
Have you tried out Mozilla Songbird? I only have limited experience with iTunes, but Songbird seems to be very similar, and it supports plugins. I think you can even buy songs through the iTunes store through it, but I haven't tested it much, yet.

RE: Closed systems FTW!
By kelmon on 1/14/2009 10:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
It depends on how you want to spin things. Any of the "bad things" that you listed can also be spun as "good things", depending upon what is important to you. I'll confess that some of Apple's decisions over recent years have riled me somewhat but certainly I wouldn't consider the other platforms as suitable alternatives at this time.

Note: it's make a web browser based on WebKit. This is much the same as saying that Camino is based on Firefox when it is in fact based on the Gekko rendering engine used by Firefox. Put another way, these alternative browsers are not simply skins to Safari.

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